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Lanka to hold nationwide local elections in March

Sri Lanka plans to hold a nationwide local elections in March, the first since the end of the ethnic conflict in the country, officials said on Saturday.

world Updated: Jan 01, 2011 21:19 IST

Sri Lanka plans to hold a nationwide local elections in March, the first since the end of the ethnic conflict in the country, officials said on Saturday.

Local government ministry extended the terms of all local government bodies last year under the powers vested in the minister.

The government has now decided to dissolve the local government bodies just before the extended time periods ended and will hope to have the election in mid- March, ruling party officials said.

Around 300 municipal, urban and village councils, except for a few local government bodies in North and East, will face elections after a three-decade old war ended in May 2009.

Political analysts say the local election would be a key test of the government's popularity as President Mahinda Rajapaksa has tightened his grip on power by winning a second term in 2010 and following it up with a landslide win at April parliamentary polls.

The ruling party headed by Rajapksha had wanted earlier to conduct the local government election under a first past the post system.

However, the government decided to conduct the polls on the existing proportional representation system and shelved plans to change its electoral system from proportional representation to first-past-the-post at least for some time.